Ray Brown Trio: Ray Brown (bass); Geoff Keezer (piano); Karriem Riggins (drums).
Recorded live at Starbucks, Seattle, Washington on September 22 & 23, 1999. Includes liner notes by Will Friedwald.
Widely loved and hated, the Starbucks coffee chain has been playing host to some very good jazz groups. The first live recording from a Starbucks store came from bass legend Ray Brown and his trio, featuring Geoff Keezer on piano and Karriem Riggins on drums. The trio dealt in what used to be called the big beat -- a deep-pocketed swing that rhythm sections of old would serve up as a matter of course. Riggins's lithe trap work and Brown's bass -- beautifully recorded, with reverberating lows that shake the floor -- provide a rock-solid foundation for the chopsy yet impeccably soulful piano inventions of Keezer, who remains one of the instrument's most thrilling technicians. Particularly effective is the mid-set Ellington trilogy, beginning with the rollicking "Mainstem" and ending with a furious "Caravan," with a poetic, swinging bass feature on "Love You Madly" sandwiched in between. (Check out Keezer's "My Favorite Things" reference at the end of "Caravan.") Other highlights include Tadd Dameron's "Our Delight," a subtle "I Should Care," and the bluesiest "When I Fall in Love" you're likely to hear. ~ David R. Adler
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